Previewing the Knicks' 2024 NBA playoff rotation

With the NBA playoffs starting soon, the Knicks have just two games to determine their seeding and opening rotation. They're entering this run without Julius Randle, but with the rest of the roster healthy as of late, they’re well aware of what they have and what they don’t.

For those uncertain as to what the Knicks' playoff rotation will look like, we’re likely seeing head coach Tom Thibodeau preview it. The past three games, New York has largely run an eight-man rotation -- their usual approach to the postseason.

This tightening seems to suggest we know who Thibodeau will rely on as the main eight guys, and who the next men up are. Currently starting are Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, with the three reserve spots going to Miles McBride, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson.

We’ve seen some spot and garbage time minutes from a ninth man, Precious Achiuwa, who stepped up amid all the injuries for some big regular season stretches. Unfortunately, with the Knicks' center rotation at full strength and another non-shooter (Hart) owning most of the minutes at the four, there’s little room for the energetic Achiuwa. 

He’ll be a useful plug-and-play man if the Knicks' bigs get into foul trouble or are having an off night, even if New York wants to go bigger in certain matchups. It’s a testament to this team’s depth that they’re leaving some real talent on the sidelines in case of emergency. 

The same goes for Alec Burks, whose 30 percent shooting clip as a Knick bumped him out of regular play. He may not be as reliable as many hoped he’d be, but he could step in to take on some ball-handling and shooting duties if something goes wrong. 

The starters are likely set in stone. That lineup is outscoring teams by a whopping 16.1 points per 100 possessions in 111 minutes played over nine games. 

The lone potential adjustment would be McBride over Hart for more shooting and less size. But it’s unlikely Thibs will go there unless a series is going badly.

He also won’t be splitting Brunson and Hartenstein any time soon to move Robinson back to his starting role. The two have developed an extremely strong chemistry and Hartenstein’s offensive repertoire allows the Knicks to better counter defensive pressure on Brunson.

Off the bench, McBride has been one of the more reliable Knicks in Randle’s absence, breaking out post-Anunoby trade and putting up big numbers when inserted into the starting five. His 41 percent three-ball clip, defense and ability to play either guard spot make him a no-brainer for the rotation.

The Knicks now pair him with at least two of DiVincenzo, Hart and Bogdanovic in the non-Brunson minutes, so he’s not asked to handle the ball too much. He still gets early minutes in the backcourt with Brunson -- a pairing New York found to be very successful in recent weeks.

Bogdanovic has finally come on after struggling post-trade. In his last ten games he’s averaging 10.9 points on 52.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.9 percent from three in just 16.4 minutes of action a night.

Robinson is slowly knocking the rust off, but even not fully ramped has made an immediate impact on the glass as part of bench units. If he gets close to full strength in the playoffs, he can dominate his minutes.

With this depth and optionality, expect further experimenting and adjustments between these eight guys as the postseason unfolds. The Knicks will try to get Bogdanovic out there in lineups he can’t be picked on too much, and need to find the right bench units to avoid playing Brunson 40-plus minutes a night.

Those are only a fraction of the challenges awaiting New York in the playoffs, but coming into them with a rotation all but set is huge after so much uncertainty these past couple of months.

The Knicks have their guys ready. Will they perform when the time comes?